|Publication number||US7004918 B2|
|Application number||US 10/442,195|
|Publication date||Feb 28, 2006|
|Filing date||May 20, 2003|
|Priority date||May 23, 2002|
|Also published as||US20040068216|
|Publication number||10442195, 442195, US 7004918 B2, US 7004918B2, US-B2-7004918, US7004918 B2, US7004918B2|
|Inventors||Michael Alan Rolnick, Mathew Ferry Warden, Robert Allen Van Wyk|
|Original Assignee||Michael Alan Rolnick, Warden Matthew Perry, Robert Allen Van Wyk|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (36), Referenced by (6), Classifications (6), Legal Events (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims the benefit of provisional application 60/382,240 filed May 23, 2002.
This invention relates to the treatment of injuries to the foot, and more particularly, to a low cost orthosis for treating patients with toe injuries.
Toe injuries are extremely common, both sprains and fractures. Treatment generally consists of reducing any fracture and splinting the toe by taping it to an adjacent uninjured toe with gauze between the toes. The patient is given additional padding and tape so that he can revise the splinting which will be required for about one week. Additional treatment includes rest, ice, elevation and anti-inflammatory medication. Comfort may be provided by use of a cane, crutches, or other method which minimizes weight-bearing flexion and extension of the toes. Wearing shoes generally causes increased pain due to confinement and rubbing of the toe by the shoe. Some patients find that wearing a soft slipper or a sneaker with the toe section cut off gives comfort. Symptoms generally improve within one week.
The treatment for toes following surgical correction of mallet toe, hammer toe, or claw toe, or following the removal of hard or soft corns also requires that weight-bearing flexion and extension of the affected toe be prevented and that the toe be protected from further injury due to contact with fixed objects. The treatment of inflammations and infections of the toes is similar. Patient comfort is enhanced by preventing weight-bearing movement of the toes and preventing their contact with other objects.
Common to all treatments is that movement of the injured toe be prevented. This severely limits patient mobility since walking involves a heel strike, pivoting on the ball of the foot, and launching, with the ball of the foot and the toes supporting the patient's weight during the launch. Weight-bearing flexion and extension of the toes occurs with each step. Use of crutches can limit this flexion and extension, however, patient mobility is limited and no protection is given to the injured toe to prevent additional injury due to accidental contact with fixed objects. Wearing a soft slipper or a sneaker with the toe section cut off, while providing some patient comfort, will often not totally eliminate weight-bearing flexion and extension of the toes and will expose the injured toes to additional injury since the toes are unprotected.
Orthoses exist for the treatment of other injuries to the forefoot. Typical of these is the Orthowedge Healing Shoe (Markell Shoe Company, Yonkers, N.Y.) which, according to their literature, “elevates and unweights the forefoot after surgery or injury”. The outsole of the shoe is much thicker than that of a standard shoe so as to form a platform, and is angled somewhat so that the forefoot is elevated above the heel area. The weight-bearing portion of the outsole extends from the heel of the shoe a distance which places its distal end under the distal half of the arch. The outsole then tapers abruptly to a reduced thickness which extends distally a distance which places the distal end of the outsole slightly beyond the distal end of the wearer's toes. The toe region of the shoe is open so as to minimize contact with the injured region of the foot. The upper portion of the shoe is made from soft, compliant materials and has a dorsal split along its top surface. This allows the foot to be inserted into the shoe with a motion that is substantially orthogonal to the sole of the shoe thereby preventing inadvertent contact between the injured forefoot and the shoe. This is in contrast to a standard shoe which requires insertion of the forefoot with a motion substantially parallel to the insole of the shoe. The Markell shoe elevates the forefoot so as to prevent the distal end of the orthosis from contacting the floor during walking. Pivoting and launch occur from the distal end of the weight-bearing portion of the outsole, which is beneath the metatarsal arch of the user's foot. This unnatural pivot and launch, and the thickness of the platform in the heel area make walking ungainly. The unnatural pivoting effect is amplified by the distal limit of the weight-bearing region which is a defined edge rather than a radius. Because the insole is essentially a flat surface, during pivot and launch some weight-bearing flexion of the toes still occurs. Additionally, an orthosis of this type is of rather complex construction, containing a variety of materials and designed to have a life significantly longer than that generally required for treating a toe injury.
No effective orthosis is available for the treatment of injuries, infections, or inflammation of the toes.
It is accordingly an object of this invention to provide an orthosis for treatment of toe injuries.
It is also an object of this invention to provide an orthosis for toe injuries which mimics true physiology during walking so as to minimize its effect on the patient's gait.
It is also an object of this invention to provide an orthosis for toe injuries which allows a launch from the ball of the foot without load-bearing flexion or extension of the toes.
It is also an object of this invention to provide an orthosis for toe injuries which protects the toes from further injury.
It is also an object of this invention to provide an orthosis for toe injuries which is lightweight and effective.
It is further an object of this invention to provide an orthosis for toe injuries which is of simple construction.
It is finally an object of this invention to provide an orthosis for treatment of toe injuries which is low cost.
It is further an object of this invention to provide an orthosis for toe injuries which can be used on either the left or the right foot.
These and other objects are accomplished by the invention herein disclosed consisting of a generally shoe-shaped orthosis molded as a monolithic structure from a semi-rigid polymeric foam material such as closed cell polypropylene foam. The insole of the orthosis has a planar, proximal, weight-bearing portion extending from the heel to the distal end of the metatarsals of a user's foot, and a planar, distal portion, generally parallel to the aforementioned proximal portion but recessed a distance below this proximal portion. The proximal portion increases in width distally from the heel to the distal limit of the portion so as to generally conform to the shape of a user's foot. The distal portion is of a constant width equal to the width of the distal end of the proximal portion of the insole.
The outsole of the orthosis has a proximal, weight-bearing region and a distal region. The proximal end of the proximal region has a thickness approximating that of the heel of a standard shoe. The proximal region increases in thickness along its distat length, the region ending slightly distal to the distal end of the metatarsals of a user's foot. The distal end of the weight-bearing region forms a lateral axially, cylindrical radius extending the width of the outsole. The non-weight-bearing, distal portion of the outsole is of reduced thickness, is displaced vertically above the distal end of the weight-bearing region and is angled upward so that the orthosis can pivot on the previously described cylindrical radius at the distal end of the proximal portion, through an angle as would occur during walking, without the distal end of the outsole contacting the floor.
The previously described insole is inclined upward by the increasing thickness of the weight-bearing portion of the outsole. The proximal, heel portion of the insole is surrounded by a more or less vertical wall extending to a height slightly below a user's ankle, the wall being of sufficient thickness, rigidity and height to prevent the heel from lifting from the interior weight-bearing surface when the orthosis is pivoted on the fulcrum formed by the cylindrical radius at the distal end of the proximal portion of the outsole. Two pliable, longitudinal, laterally opposed walls surround the approximately distal half of the proximal portion of the insole and the recessed distal portion of the insole. These longitudinal walls have a height such that, when wrapped partially over both sides of the dorsum of a user's foot, a small gap remains between the ends of these walls atop the dorsum of the foot. The far distal portions of the longitudinal walls wrap over a more or less vertical, lateral wall at the distal end of the distal region of the insole so as to form a toe box of sufficient height and width to protect the toes of a user's foot. The distal end, lateral wall is of sufficient thickness to protect a user's toes from injury due to contact between the orthosis and a fixed object during ambulation. A securing means such as hook and loop straps secures the longitudinal walls about the foot.
During use, a user's toes are surrounded by a toe box formed on the bottom by the recessed distal region of the insole, with lateral sides and top formed by the distal portion of the wrapped longitudinal walls and on its distal end by the wall at the distal end of the recessed distal region. This toe box is of sufficient size to preclude contact between the injured toe with its associated dressing and the interior of the orthosis. During ambulation, the orthosis pivots on the fulcrum formed by the distal radius of the weight-bearing portion of the outsole so as to give maximum launch. However, the distal, non-weight bearing portion of the outsole does not contact the floor. Since the heel of the orthosis is comparable in height to that of a standard shoe, walking with a somewhat normal gait is possible if a shoe having a comparable heel thickness is worn on the uninjured foot. The device is designed in such a manner that it can be molded complete in a monolithic manner to its final shape in a single operation thereby allowing it to be produced at low cost. Because the orthosis is molded from polypropylene or similar foam, it has sufficient use life to treat most toe injuries and is lightweight. The bilateral symmetry of the device allows it to be used on either the left or right foot. The orthosis is molded in a range of incremental sizes. A cloth liner conforming generally to the interior shape of the orthosis, and having a dorsal split may be added to improve user comfort.
The more important features of the invention have been outlined rather broadly in order that the detailed description thereof that follows may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are, of course, additional features of the invention that will be descried hereinafter and which will form the subject matter of the claims appended hereto.
As best seen in
Weight-bearing, proximal region 8 of outsole 6 of height 60 at proximal end 9 increases in thickness to height 62 at distal end 12 so as to incline insole 40 at angle 64, height 60 approximating the heel height of a sneaker or dress shoe. Distal portion 14 of outsole 6 is displaced vertically distance 66 above the distal end 12 of the proximal portion 8 and is angled upward at angle 68 so that orthosis 1 can pivot on radius 10 through an angle 70 as would occur during walking, without distal end 72 of outsole 6 contacting the floor.
Referring again to
Although the invention has been taught with specific reference to the preferred embodiment, someone skilled in the art will recognize that changes can be made in form and detail without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. The described embodiments are to be considered only as illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of the invention is, therefore, indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description.
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|U.S. Classification||602/30, 602/23|
|International Classification||A61F5/00, A61F5/01|
|Aug 15, 2006||CC||Certificate of correction|
|Aug 3, 2009||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Oct 11, 2013||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Feb 28, 2014||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|Apr 22, 2014||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20140228